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Special effects artist honors roots, brings movie to Laurel theater

Special effects artist honors roots, brings movie to Laurel theater
Bobby Brooks with his grandson Hunter
Posted at 5:15 PM, Jan 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-08 19:15:13-05

BILLINGS — "Sanctified," a western style movie filmed in North Dakota, premiered over the weekend at a local theater in Laurel. Special effects for the film were done by a Laurel resident.

By day Bobby Brooks works full-time at the Stillwater Mine, but on the side he runs Second Unit Action, a special effects business.

“Everything from little, tiny explosions to big ones,” Brooks said while standing next to his grandson Hunter. Five-year-old Hunter played along for the interview with Q2 and had a special effects arrow sticking out of his chest.

Bobby Brooks with his grandson Hunter

Starting back in the 1980's as a movie extra, Brooks later found his passion for special effects.

“The first one was "Rambo III" where I actually helped the special effects crew,” and from then Brooks was hooked.

He’s now worked on hundreds of productions and has a partner in Lovell, Wyo. and together, “between he and I, if we team up on a show we can pretty much do anything.”

They both worked on "Sanctified" a film based on the 1880’s badlands lawlessness. Brooks missed the movie premieres in North Dakota, but still wanted to bring it to Montana.

“I’m excited to bring it to Laurel here, have everybody check it out,” he said.

But it isn’t all about showcasing his work. Brooks hopes to help out The VUE and BREW theater in Laurel.

“The theaters have never been hurting like they are now. People just don’t flock to the theaters much anymore. So, it’s important that we need to do some of these premieres, you know?” Brooks said. "I would like to see the theaters start filling up, that would be great.”